Q&A: Animals In The Wild
The following is Q&A about animals in the wild.
There are also Q&A pages in these areas:
Because certain species of wild animals sometimes kill farmed animals they can be unpopular with farmers. So this means that the animals in question are so-called ‘pests’ and should be disposed of, right?
Well, no, it doesn’t mean that at all.
Something we humans need to start remembering is that it’s not always about us. We’re not the only species on this planet, and just because a particular animal affects us in a way we feel is unpleasant to us, it doesn’t automatically mean that the animal is to blame or should be punished. The Earth is home to many animals - not just human animals. And it’s high time we start considering ourselves to be a part of a bigger whole, and stop acting as though we’re the only ones here.
Furthermore, the idea of killing wild animals in order to protect a farm’s interest to kill domesticated animals is utterly perverse. That so many people currently think that there’s any logic at all in killing in order to maintain the right to kill is highly disturbing, to say the least.
It also speaks to the extremely violent state of the world. And changing this climate of violence can only be resolved by no longer engaging in routine institutionalised violence towards animals of any kind: in other words, it comes back veganism.
The bottom line is that this planet is not just for us. The Earth is home to many furry, feathered, and finned friends, and it’s not our right to simply kill animals who bother us. This is their world too.
If culling wild animal populations to keep numbers under control is ethically agreeable, then so is killing human populations to keep our numbers under control.
In fact, on a practical level, the results of killing humans would be much more favourable than killing any number of non-human animals, because it’s the human population that is the root cause of the environment’s biggest problems.
Am I saying that we should kill humans? No. Of course not. In stating the above I’m putting the shoe on the other foot, making the point that violence is not okay, and saying that wanting to keep populations at a certain level is no excuse for killing.
Not hunting doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t hurt animals.
Certainly by not hunting you’re not killing animals with your own hand, but if you use animal products you’re paying others to do it for you.
Direct killing and complicity in killing are not far removed from each other.
So whether you’re the killer or the one who pays the killer it all amounts to the same thing: killing. And if you truly don’t want to hurt animals, then you shouldn’t kill them either way.
If you concede that going hunting means hurting animals, then by fishing you’re hurting animals too - just different types of animals who happen to live in water instead of on land.
Fishing is just another type of hunting - it makes absolutely no difference that the animals being killed by fishing dwell in water: they’re still being killed.
So don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you don’t kill land mammals you don’t hunt. If you go fishing you are engaging in a type of hunting.
Depending on where you live and which species of animal we’re talking about, it might be legal to keep certain types of wild animals as so-called ‘pets’. However the question is not whether you can have a wild animal as a ‘pet’ but more whether you should keep a wild animal as a ‘pet’.
And this is regardless of how supposedly comfortable they might be living with humans, because what is comfort for us can be hell for an animal. For example, living within the four walls of a home might mean safety to us, but is essentially a prison sentence for a wild animal.
The long and the short of it is that the right place for wild animals is - you guessed it - in the wild.
No, of course it’s not. How could it be?
How is it okay to snag a fish’s tender mouth with a sharp piercing hook? How is it okay to drag the fish via this hook out of her watery home where she can’t breathe? How is it okay to take a photo with the poor fish as she desperately gasps for air? How is any of that okay?
Yeah, fine, you ultimately don’t kill the fish, but the rest of the torture that is the ‘sport’ of fishing still stands.
Well, there are also loads of people in the world…does that mean that murdering a few is not a problem because there are plenty of other people left? No, it doesn’t. Because the amount of killing is not the issue - the issue is that killing is wrong. And it’s the same with sea animals: killing them isn’t morally justified simply because there are currently lots of them.
But let’s pretend for a moment that the question of morality doesn’t count, and talk about the amount of killing. It’s now estimated that between 1 and 3 trillion sea animals are killed every year. Killing sea creatures is, quite simply, voiding our oceans of life and it’s estimated that in the not-too-distant future there will be no sea animals left at all. That in itself is a tragedy, but to top it off is the undeniably negative impact this will have on the ocean environment and the planet as a whole.
So, all up, there’s no good that comes from killing water-dwelling animals - not for them, not for the planet, and not for us. On the other hand, plenty of good comes from living vegan: go vegan, and no one gets hurt.
Wow. Does that mean that if someone likes to eat dogs they should be able to kill their neighbour’s dog and eat him or her? Or that if someone likes to smack people in the head with a cricket bat they should be able to do that whenever they feel like it? Or that if someone likes to drive at twice the speed limit that’s a-okay as well?
My point is that merely liking something shouldn’t automatically give one leave to do it.
As with all animal products, shark fin soup means causing suffering and death to sentient beings, and since when is doing that a morally sound activity? In other words, it’s not about what individuals enjoy, but about doing the right thing. And torturing and killing are never the right thing.
Killing for pleasure. Hmmm…a dubious pastime at best. And that’s just what hunting and fishing are: killing for pleasure.
But does enjoyment justify killing?
Because the fact is that some men find it enjoyable to rape women, but this enjoyment doesn't make rape justifiable. And other men enjoy raping children but, once again, their enjoyment doesn’t make that justifiable: not even close. Similarly, enjoyment of killing doesn’t make it justifiable either - even when it’s perfectly legal (as it currently is in most situations to kill animals).
Now, if you’re differentiating the examples of raping humans to that of killing animals because the former is illegal and the latter is legal, remember one thing: the former was not always illegal, nor is it currently illegal everywhere in the world. And even back when it was universally legal to rape, it didn’t mean that it was okey-dokey morally speaking just because the law at that time said it was okey-dokey.
In other words, legality doesn’t automatically equal morality. And nor does enjoyment automatically give people the right to do something if that something is morally abhorrent, as killing undoubtedly is.
When child labour became illegal, those who employed (read: “exploited”) children suffered a financial blow. And while I’m sure those individuals didn’t welcome the economic impact that this moral stance had upon them, it was a necessary step for society to take in the direction of morality.
And so it is with killing wild animals (or, indeed, any animals) for profit: moral evolution overriding the desire to maintain an industry’s status quo is a step in the moral direction. And it’s a necessary step if we are to have the peaceful world that we claim to crave. After all, humanity can’t possibly attain peace on Earth as long as routinely killing animals is so accepted by society: bloodshed and peace simply cannot exist side by side.
The fact is that lots of people throughout history have been financially impacted from various business practices becoming obsolete. They go on to find other ways of making money, as would those who kill wild animals for a living once society makes a moral shift in that direction.
No it’s not okay at all. Why would it be? Why deem whales so important that they shouldn’t be killed and other sea creatures of so little importance that they should be killed? It makes no sense at all.
In the same way that some people are not more important than others because of the type of person they happened to be, some animals are not more important than others because of the type of animal they happen to be. There’s absolutely no logic in thinking that there’s a moral difference between killing one type of water-dwelling animal compared to another simply based on the fact that they’re of a different species to each other.
Well, that’s not strictly true.
In supporting Sea Shepherd you help some animals. You mainly help whales and some other sea life. But don’t kid yourself by thinking that you help animals by supporting Sea Shepherd: you only help certain favoured species of animals.
Typically, if a human gets hurt by an animal, the immediate response is to ‘solve’ the problem by killing animals. Sometimes the animals killed are those who’ve done the damage and sometimes it’s simply any animal of that species. Either way, many people feel that this response is totally justified because we are humans and they are “just animals”.
This kind of superiority complex is typical of too many people’s mindset. So many individuals believe that humans come first at all times and that we should act in whatever way is (or seems) beneficial to us at the expense of not just other animals but our planet too. (In fact, it’s this arrogant way of thinking that has led us to the point of no return with regards to the destruction of the Earth - our very own home.)
So the childish knee-jerk reaction of automatically killing any non-human that hurts or kills a human has to change, and (as important as it is) not just to preserve non-human lives, but also the planet and therefore ourselves.
Killing isn’t even close to a solution for when a non-human hurts or kills a human. A proper and mature solution would be to recognise the part that we play in any attack of a human by an animal, take responsibility for our actions, and change our own behaviour. Not respond with revenge killings.
Come on, people, surely we've evolved beyond cavemen!
The fact is that there are lots of things humans have done in the past that they no longer do once they wake up to the fact that those things are not the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, as things stand, while a handful of people realise that killing (even when given the euphemistic labels of “hunting” or “fishing”) is wrong, it’s not yet universally recognised as such. Still, this lack of unanimous realisation doesn’t change the fact that killing is an immoral act. Many things which are now commonly considered to be immoral - for example, human slavery - were once thought of by most as a morally acceptable aspect of human society.
So what changes in people’s minds to create these moral shifts?
Well, in the case of human slavery in the USA, a small minority believed that it was wrong and took a stand against it. In that case, a war was fought and the anti-slavery side won. In the case of animals, a small vegan minority is now trying to create a change of heart in people. No war will be fought - after all, it’s hypocritical to say that killing is wrong while killing people in order to make your point. Instead, non-violently opening people’s eyes so that they experience a change of heart will be what ultimately creates a change in society.
In conclusion, I’ll briefly go back to addressing the original question by simply saying this: doing something because cavemen did it is, quite simply, devolving to a primitive mindset which should be left in the past.
No, it’s not a good thing.
Because torturing animals for any reason - including for human health - is never a good thing: whether it’s torturing rats in a laboratory supposedly in the name of science or torturing bears to use their bile in Traditional Chinese Medicine, animal torture is always morally objectionable.
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SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
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